Have the previous 3 types of experience helped you gain clarity in your organization about what’s what, and who plays what role in improving the experience?
Type 4 goes one step further again in unraveling the experience spaghetti.
Service experience comes into play as soon as I, as a customer or employee, contact the organization with a question or a complaint.
And then specifically the type of contact requiring human interaction (phone call, e-mail, WhatsApp, chat).
Because the service contact that takes place purely digitally, is better served by the last of the 5 types, user experience. More on that later.
I’m sure that very few contact center managers will agree with this narrow definition, but once again there is little point in regarding everything to be CX.
You need other ways of measuring the 5 different types, other ways of steering and often the involvement of other departments.
And I certainly don’t claim to know all about running a contact center.
I’m simply looking through the spectacles of optimum experience, how you (1) find the right drivers and (2) how you avoid unnecessary customer contact, by improving the journeys outside of the contact center.
Okay, enough disclaimers for now;-).
Scope of Service Experience
Let’s start by determining the scope based on the journey.
In this blog, I describe service experience from the customer’s point of view, but it can be applied in exactly the same way in large organizations that have an internal customer service for employees, an IT or HR help desk for example.
The most obvious occasion for service experience is of course if I have a question or complaint.
As far as my experience is concerned, it makes little difference whether my action is to make a request, a claim or to cancel the product.
In all cases, I want my question or complaint to be answered in a manner agreeable to me.
The somewhat less obvious occasions occur when your organization aims at proactive customer contact as part of the journey.
Let’s imagine that a set part of your application process is to call a customer following his/her online application, to work through the application.
The customer contact is then truly a part of the application journey.
In that case, you’ll discover the drivers for that journey in the same way as in the customer experience blog.
Challenges of service experience
If I needed to choose one challenge for service experience, with a view to improving the total experience of your organization, it would be the “islands” problem.
Ensuring perfect handling of my contact as soon as I make the call, is a piece of cake for most contact center managers.
A more tricky issue is how to avoid unnecessary customer contacts for me as a customer, which results in saving costs and at the same time creating happier customers.
Because the cause of the contacts via the contact center has nothing to do with the contact center in 80% of the cases.
If your first time fix is at 80%, you can only improve a maximum of 20% within the contact center.
At least 80% of customer contacts are therefore caused elsewhere: an error on a web page, the wrong letter from the office, an incorrect product supplied, etc.
Due to most contact centers being purely responsible for the quality of that contact, and that is also their focus, it proves tricky to take an active role to avoid customer contact during the journey as a whole.
What is needed in such cases, is mutual understanding.
The contact center needs to speak the language of online, the back office, the factory, etc.
And all non-contact center departments need to understand that the contact center cannot accept sole responsibility for avoiding unnecessary customer contact.
This role – connecting all departments to improve the journeys together – requires a different competence than the operational business of the contact center, with top quality customer contact.
A great deal can therefore be won by examining where experience can be improved among all the departments, while making smart use of all available customer contact data.
Metrics of service experience
When considering what I’ve just sketched, my experience-based focus is on other metrics than the most standard operational steering information such as waiting times, processing times and first-time fix.
These are always monitored at all contact centers anyway, so no further action is required there.
I use a combination of first time right and satisfaction with the customer contact moment, to discover the necessary drivers.
Despite the inspiring book by Dixon and colleagues on the customer effort score (CES), I prefer to apply satisfaction in service experience.
I do so for a number of reasons.
The first reason is that convenience (which is what the customer effort score essentially measures) is a driver of satisfaction.
While it is not a final metric, it does however ensure greater satisfaction if you can improve it.
The second reason is that, as in the case of NPS (see this recent blog), only using 1 question and an open reply gives the risk of not discovering the actual drivers for a better experience.
Convenience must certainly be measured therefore, and the amount of impact it has on your satisfaction with contact processing, but it is not the metric for service experience.
So is there no point at all to the CES? There most certainly is, though I categorize it under user experience, which I’ll explain in the final blog.
First time right – not first time fix – is an indicator of the number of unnecessary contacts received.
Not only unnecessary from the organization’s point of view but particularly for the customer (I don’t want to have to call when something goes wrong online).
By continuously analyzing the call reasons and finding the cause, based on the appropriate journey, we saved an organization 2.5 million euros while at the same time increasing customer satisfaction.
That’s a great deal of win-win, also for the employees, who no longer had the unpleasant job of constantly explaining to the customer that a certain problem has not yet been solved.
Connection to the other types of experience
As we’ve already seen in brand experience, the brand determines the choices for service experience.
Does your brand stand for innovation? Then you might want to offer your initial service via virtual or augmented reality.
There are two sides to the link with customer experience.
A good experience at the time that I seek contact, will improve my total experience throughout the journey.
However, the greatest added value lies in the use of all data on the customer contact in order to continually improve the experience in all journeys.
Service experience is aimed at finding the drivers of a top experience at that moment at which customers or employees seek contact with your organization.
You also apply all the data you have recorded on the contents of the contacts, in order to improve all customer and employee journeys and subsequently achieve both happy customers and employees, and added efficiency.
Another tip: do you want to quickly convince all departments how much can be won if you all jointly improve the experience in the journeys? Try using this calculation:
- Total number of customer contacts per year (let’s say 1,000,000)
- Times the costs per customer contact (let’s say 10)
- Question for the customer: do you think this contact could have been avoided? (around 20 to 30% generally answers yes).
- Aim on the low side and say: let’s not assume 20 to 30%, but 10% must surely be manageable. We’re then talking about a potential saving of € 1,000,000 annually.
And that can be deployed to achieve cost savings or you can ensure that the extra time made available can be used for added investment in valuable contacts.
In the following blog, we’ll be looking at user experience!